Sam Darnold had his moments as a New York Jet. Though selected No. 3 overall during the 2018 NFL Draft, the USC product has mostly been seen as a bust. But we have to admit it was a little difficult to judge his performance due to the lack of talent along the offensive line.
Last year, the Jets began remedying that situation by selecting the mammoth offensive tackle out of Louisville, Mekhi Becton. It was too little, too late for Darnold, but the move should now prove useful with new starting quarterback Zach Wilson in the fold.
But as with Darnold, Becton isn’t enough to create a difference for Wilson — at least not alone. That’s why New York’s second first-round pick this year, USC offensive lineman Alijah Vera-Tucker, could be such an important factor. Having two long-term building blocks up front already puts Wilson in a better position to succeed than Darnold.
The Becton-Vera-Tucker combination is going to be crucial for the Jets moving forward, and NFL insider and analyst Brian Baldinger, who used to be an offensive lineman in the NFL, has even come up with a nickname for the duo.
“I think that these two guys have a chance to be the Bash Brothers for a long time with the Jets and have fun physically just mauling people,” Baldinger said, via Max Goodman of Sports Illustrated.
That’s got to be music to Wilson’s ears.
The lack of physicality up front has plagued the Jets for years now. After addressing that on the defensive side of the football by drafting Quinnen Williams No. 3 overall back in 2019, the time has come to build up the other side of the trenches. So far, so good.
Granted, there are five starting offensive linemen, and Becton and Vera-Tucker are only two of them. There’s still work that needs to be done in future drafts, but this is a heck of start for Robert Saleh’s tenure as head coach.
With Corey Davis, Elijah Moore and Denzel Mims at wide receiver, that group has plenty of weapons for Wilson to throw to. But adding Vera-Tucker could mean the difference between Wilson having time to get those pass-catchers the ball and getting sacked.
At the very least, the left side of those offensive line should keep things locked down with Becton at left tackle and Vera-Tucker at left guard.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.